Yogurt with Candied Quince & Crushed Jordan Almonds

Yogurt with Candied Quince & Crushed Jordan Almonds
(YAOURTI ME ZAXAROMENA KYDONIA KAI COPANISTA KOUFETA)

Candied Quince

My mom always used cherries, but quince is a quintessentially Greek fruit.
Makes 2 Candied Quinces 

Ingredients:

  • 2 quinces, each about the size of a large apple, peeled, quartered, and cored
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 7 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Zest of 1 whole orange, removed in one thin strip with a vegetable peeler, without any of the bitter white pith

Method:

  1. Cut the quince quarters into long strips about ¼ inch thick and wide.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water to make a simple syrup. Stir to dissolve and add the cloves, cinnamon sticks, and orange zest. Add the quince and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pan, and simmer the fruit gently in the syrup until it looks slightly pink from the cinnamon and cloves, and is very tender and almost completely translucent but not falling apart. This may take up to 1 ½ hours.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a sterilized jar and cool the jar down quickly in an ice water bath (this will improve the keeping time). Press a square of plastic wrap down directly onto the surface of the syrup. Place another square of plastic over the rim of the jar and twist on the lid or secure with a rubber band. Replace the square of plastic that touches the preserves each time you use some and use a perfectly clean spoon each time to prevent cross contamination from other surfaces in your kitchen.

*If you can find fresh lovage, add 2 sprigs to the simple syrup while you poach the quince.

By pairing the sweet fruit with the tart flavor of yogurt, you create simple a simple, not-too-sweet dessert. Standard supermarket yogurt will not work here unless you drain it overnight.

The Yogurt

In Greece, Jordan Almonds – whole almonds with a colored, hard sugar-candy coating – are traditionally wrapped in tulle and given as party favors to guests at weddings and christening celebrations. Here, they provide texture and beauty, but you can also choose crumbled halvah, or crystallized ginger. I prefer a combination of all three. So much more fun than the typical granola mix!
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup (10 ounces) goat’s or sheep’s milk yogurt, labne, kefir, or strained, full-fat yogurt
  • 2 Candied Quinces
  • 4 leaves fresh mint, slivered

Method:

  1. Crush the Jordan almonds with the side of a knife, then chop coarsely to a chunky granola-like consistency. (If this is difficult or messy, you can pulse quickly in a food processor.)
  2. With an ice cream scoop or two large spoons, form quenelles (oval dollops) of the thick yogurt and put two on each plate. Sprinkle the Candied Quinces on top and drizzle with some of their spicy syrup. Scatter with the crushed Jordan almonds and a few slivers of mint.
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